Suspect jumps in river to avoid police in Palm Bay

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PALM BAY, Fla. —

A traffic stop turned into a water rescue after Palm Bay police said a man refused to cooperate and jumped out of his car into the river on U.S. 1 near Bay Boulevard.

Authorities said the suspect, 32 year-old Hugh Kelly, is a habitual traffic offender with a suspended license.

Police said Kelly was traveling 14 mph over the posted speed limit when they attempted to pull him over on Wednesday.

"We learned the suspect jumped in the river and was trying to get away from officers," said Cpl. Greg Leonard of the Palm Bay Police Department.

Police set up along the bank while Leonard borrowed a boat from a nearby marina to rescue Kelly. Leonard said by the time officers reached the suspect he was already struggling to stay afloat.

"When we realized he was in trouble, struggling, was to get him in the boat which he was glad to do once we got there," said Leonard.

Kelly was taken to a local hospital where he was checked out and released, authorities said.

"He had some warrants," said Leonard. "He was on probation. He had a suspended license. I think in his mind jumping in the river was a better idea than getting arrested by the police."

In addition to the probation violation and the charges for fleeing and eluding, Kelly was issued a $209 speeding ticket.